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Sonic Superstars Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Sonic Superstars
Developer: Arzest
Website: https://sonicsuperstars.com/?lang=en
Genre(s): Platformer
Platform: PS5
Release Date: 17/10/23
Price: £54.99

A code was provided for review purposes

2D or not 2D?

Across a bumper launch weekend for gaming this October we managed to get our hands on the latest addition to SEGA’s beloved Sonic Franchise, Sonic Superstars. 

It’s also a series which for me has something of an identity crisis and never seems to settle on the types of games they want to develop. Since 2022 the Sonic Team have pumped out 4 games. We’ve had Sonic Origins, a collection of remastered classic games. Sonic Frontiers an original 3D platform that had the draw distance of a leaky biro and The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog a very well received Monkey Island clone. This latest iteration is something a little different, and in Sonic Superstars we may have finally found a strong foundation for what the future of Sonic can be. 

Evolution vs Revolution

Sonic Superstars is an original story for the series, that brings the classic gameplay styling of OG Sonic games, into the modern age of gaming. There is an incredible amount of polish that contributes to the styling of this game, and it visually pops at every turn and hurdle. 

The story follows our basic band of protagonists Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy Rose. The team are set on a quest to defeat Dr Robotnik and his latest hired goons, the mischievous rodent Fang the Hunter and the clumsy lizard Trip The Sungazer. The aforementioned minions are set on capturing the giant animals scattered across the North Star Islands in an effort to allow Eggman himself to build his latest army. 

This game is also Sonic Teams latest collaboration with Arzest for the development. This is the first inclusion of the studios founder and Sonic co-creator Naoto Ohshima for over 25 years. 

There was a clear vision to bring the SEGA Mega Drive style of gameplay to this iteration, and to offer its greatest compliment, it shows. From the storytelling without a moment of dialogue or even subtitles, the comic strip styled cut scenes right down to the j-pop centric musical score.

Fresh Ideas

The convention and pace of original iterations of Sonic shine through. Each side scrolling level across this campaign travels at a dizzying speed. And I do mean dizzying. The frame rate is incredibly impressive and you can almost feel lost in what’s happening. There are a plethora of choices to roll, bounce and spin your way through each level. Every single level is designed incredibly well, there’s a depth that I know could allow you to discover new areas, and secrets several times over. 

In fact let me just say it once more. The level designs in Sonic Superstars are incredible! Probably the best I have ever seen in a Sonic game. Ever. With complex underwater levels, factory levels, 16 bit gaming rendered zones to time travelling anomalies. The attention to every minute detail is staggering. 

On top of the designs, almost every single stage has its own mini boss battle. Each of these battles feels clever and original, and impressively puzzling. There are very few moments to dodge, dodge bounce here, with a little more thought needed to conquer your adversary’s. 

There’s also quite a few tricky moments, head scratchers if you will, and the final boss? Yeah it took me 3 hours. However I was hooked on getting it over the line, and completing the game, so you can tell, I was definitely having fun. 

Chaos Emeralds

A resurrection of sorts for Sonic Superstars. The addition of Chaos Emeralds bring 7 different super forms of Sonic to the game. Each Chaos Emerald is unlocked across a number of special stages which should feel familiar. These special abilities grant players new powers such as summoning a gang of clones or swimming up waterfalls. 

This should feel like a truly exciting and engaging addition to the game that builds a fresh way to approach and succeed across the stages. There is however a small problem regarding their integration in the game, and that is It’s half baked and easily forgotten. I actually made it through the entirety of the game with just 3 of the 7 unlocked with little incentive to go back and capture the rest. 

It’s a shame really, as several platforming games have truly succeeded when it comes to integrating unlock-able special moves. Just look at Super Mario Wonder and the truly marvellous way badges help to shape your approach to survival. In fact there are actual levels in that game built around the need for each badge. The dev team could learn a lot from Nintendo on this one. 

The Charm

One thing that hasn’t been said yet, is just how downright addictive I’ve found Sonic Superstars. I mean it’s 12 hour campaign, was ripped through across 4 consecutive days. Several later than sensible nights would tell you I struggled to put the controller down, and way too many one more level moments crept into my play time. 

When all is said and done, these are the reflections that you should take from my review for Sonic Superstars. Its far from perfect, and the modern additions fall a little flat. However the package itself is highly polished. It brings everything you love from classic Sonic with many strides forward in a way that can only be compared to the work Nintendo have done with modern Mario games. 

Yes these two legacy players, share a similar path of history, however I genuinely think Sonic Superstars can stand proud. This is a thoroughly enjoyable game, and should this be the direction of Sonic henceforth, I’m incredibly excited for that future to unfold. 

Rapid Reviews Rating

4 out of 5


If you would like to purchase Sonic Superstars, you can do so here

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